According to the American Psychological Association, resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress
— such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stresses. In short resilience means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.
Resilience, as a word and theory, is used often in educational circles, with much attention focused on the resilience of students and how they cope and recover from challenges in and around the school environment.
How a youth reacts or recovers in their schooling years guides how they face adversity in adult life. From various longitudinal studies into resilience it has been found that as the number of risk factors in a child’s life increases, the chance of a positive outcome significantly decreases.
Resilient Youth Australia, a not-for-profit youth focused organisation, conducted a extensive study with around 78,000 Australian school children on resilience.
Lead researcher and psychologist Andrew Fuller said resilience is critical to predicting which children are likely to have generally good outcomes later in life. That means avoiding alcohol and drug problems, being generally satisfied with life, successful academically and likely to be in stable relationships.
Dr Fuller said children with lower levels of resilience are likely to feel disconnected, dis-empowered, and angry. The opportunities for success and happiness also lessen with low levels of resilience.
But what risks are involved to the school community when teachers levels of resilience aren’t where the need to be? How can they show students how to be resilient when they aren’t able to be resilient themselves.
In an occupational stress survey published in 2005 by the Journal of Managerial Psychology, teaching was ranked as the second most stressful job out of the 26 occupations analysed, with only ambulance drivers exceeding the stress levels found in the teaching profession.
Teaching was ranked as the second most stressful job…
In our white paper Teacher Resilience we look into stress at schools, and how to identify and manage this. We found that a key component of a school’s ‘machine’ is its teachers. Without these the school doesn’t work, and when teachers aren’t performing at their best, neither is the school.
For a school to function it needs a faculty of resilient educators and needs to do everything in its power to make this a key focus of educator wellbeing. If not, the school could be putting its students, reputation and the staff themselves at risk.
In this white paper, we identified that stress is one of the risks that can cause teaching staff to have weakened resilience. Teachers under stress aren’t performing at their optimum level, and really – who could blame them. The classroom is an increasingly challenging place to work, teachers aren’t just teaching a class, they are educating and counselling dozens of young individuals, all will different needs and abilities.
Different schools have different rules, varying levels of technology, resources and funding, and a range of workplace dynamics. Add these factors to the human elements of colleagues, parents, leaders and even teachers’ own families and you have all the ingredients for a stressful career and life in general. This can put their performance, and that of their students, at risk.
The challenge for most schools is how to identify risks such as weakened teacher resilience and wellbeing, technology issues, and how best to empower teachers and students in the classroom.
Our Digital Risk Assessment provides schools with a comprehensive report based on industry best practice in key areas. This confidential report details risks as well as specific recommendations which, if implemented, boost teacher and school community wellbeing.
Complete a Digital Risk Assessment for your school today: